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With more than five million people in the United States living with Alzheimer's disease and nearly ten million loved ones caring for them, addressing the concerns of these elders and their caregivers is a matter of increasing importance. Relying on their many years of experience in this area, Jane Thibault and Richard Morgan offer this book to provide a fresh, hopeful model of dealing with life and death in the realm of Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. Caregivers have two basic needs: affirmation that ...
With more than five million people in the United States living with Alzheimer's disease and nearly ten million loved ones caring for them, addressing the concerns of these elders and their caregivers is a matter of increasing importance. Relying on their many years of experience in this area, Jane Thibault and Richard Morgan offer this book to provide a fresh, hopeful model of dealing with life and death in the realm of Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. Caregivers have two basic needs: affirmation that caregiving is not in vain and reassurance that the lives of those for whom they care are not being lived in vain. Care receivers need more than medical attention; they need tender care, involvement in the community, and a sense of connection with a loving God. When patient and caregiver regard this shared experience as a "mutual spiritual path," each plays a role in deepening the spiritual life of the other. No Act of Love Is Ever Wasted is an excellent resource for individuals caring for loved ones as well as for counselors, support group leaders, pastors, and other professionals. In addition to offering practical ways to help, this book serves as a reminder that every act of love brings positive transformation to the recipient, to the giver, and to the world.
Foreword Dr. Earl A. Grollman 9
Introduction: Needed: Living Water 12
1 Giving and Receiving Care 25
2 Facts and Fallacies about Dementia 35
3 Caregiving: A Mutual Spiritual Path 55
4 Spiritual Needs of Caregivers 78
5 Spiritual Care in Memory Care Facilities 93
6 That All May Worship 116
7 Where Is the Church in All of This? 142
1 Suggested Reading 161
2 Psalm 139 for Caregivers 164
3 Leading a Support Group for Persons with Dementia 166
4 Worship Through Music and Symbols 170
About the Authors 176
Posted July 27, 2011
In their book No Act of Love Is Ever Wasted: The Spirituality of Caring for Persons With Dementia, coauthors Jane Marie Thibault and Richard L. Morgan re-envision - from a Christian perspective-caregiving for those suffering from Alzheimer's and other forms of debilitating dementia. Thibault, a gerontologist and clinical professor of Family and Geriatric Medicine at the University of Louisville School of Medicine and Morgan, a retired chaplain and professor, share their wealth of experience in this well-written and helpful book.
Martin Buber once said, "The greatest thing one can do for another is to confirm what is deepest in another." This quote sums up authors' main premise: the soul of a person with dementia survives even when to all appearances nothing but an empty physical shell is left, and the caregiver becomes the presence of God and the provider of God's love to the person, i.e. confirming and affirming "what is deepest."
The authors understand caregiving as a mutual spiritual path, one that allows the caregiver to grow spiritually while striving to meet the physical and spiritual needs of the person needing care. This process often demands rethinking and reimaging as caregivers struggle with the dramatic changes in their lives and the lives of their loved ones.
Included in the recommended spiritual practices is one the authors call "dedicated suffering," a process of imagining oneself taking the loved one's suffering, combining it with one's own anguish and offering it Jesus, asking Jesus to turn this suffering into his own love to be offered to the loved one or to someone else. In this way, caregiving that might appear as self-denial and a burden ends up feeling like a gift.
The format of the book is reader-friendly with larger than usual font. Each chapter opens with a passage of scripture related to the topic discussed and closes with thought-provoking discussion questions. Throughout the authors provide information about types of dementia and make helpful suggestions for spiritual care for both persons with dementia and their caregivers, all based on their personal and professional experiences.
This book, received as a review copy from Upper Room Books, is highly recommended for caregivers of persons suffering from dementia.